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Here, at Fashionbi, we are now analyzing, tracking and measuring daily engagement on Instagram for fashion brands. Why Instagram? Instagram has become a base platform for fashion and luxury brands and has become one of the most important visual engagement tools available for fashion brands. A quick snap on your mobile phone or tablet, and a user is immediately engaged with the brand.  

FashionbiIn today's digital world social networking channels are rapidly growing with new users and as the need for user engagement increases, fashion and luxury brands see these key channels as a solution to connect with consumers. One of the most active, influential and engaging channel is Instagram.

Launched in October 2010, the channel rapidly gained over 100 million active users by April 2012, which was a milestone month for the company after they launched Instagram for Android and it was downloaded more than one million times in less than one day. By 2012, the company was adding a new user every second and now in February 2013 it was announced that there were over 100 million active users, an increase of about 10 million users per month since the launch of the platform. A new user every second, a new potential customer every second, and a new person to engage with every second, now it is clear exactly why fashion and luxury brands are focusing their attention on this powerful digital tool. 

Of course there are other important social media channels that the fashion and luxury brands are all jumping into such as Pinterest, and Google Plus. But as Pinterest focuses more on creating a lifestyle, a social "board", and is public to anyone it takes away from the exclusivity. Instagram is a backstage pass into the lives of the average onlooker to the celebrity, or your favorite band. Included in this backstage pass is also a young user, a younger potential consumer. According to consumer behavior research group Experian Hitwise, "The audience for Instagram is relatively young, with over half of the visitors to the Instagram website are under the age of 35." The young are certainly staying engaged as according to another study by Hitwise, there has been 1000 percent increase in site visits since December 2012 to March 2013. The statistics are showing that this is one trend that has become a part of life from the young to the new emerging professionals and this is one segment that fashion and luxury brands surely need to engage, the future young money.

Giorgio Armani Frames of Life Instagram CampaignThe hype and buzz around Instagram has fashion brands dedicating campaigns to the social media channel, and Michael Kors is one brand that launched a mobile campaign by the name of "falling in love," which allowed users to take a photo of their favorite Michael Kors product and hashtag #fallinginlovewith. Or Giorgio Armani's Instagram campaign, "Frames of life," which asks followers to upload a picture of themselves wearing sunglasses. Frames of Life is now a dedicated site that integrates social media and digital marketing creating a user generated advertising campaign, of which users can actually see themselves in a pair of Giorgio Armani sunglasses! 

With the advancement of user generated advertising campaigns, Fashionbi can now help you measure the success of these campaigns. Why? The strong and powerful increase in young users, user engagement and the need in the market to analyze these new digital marketing and social media campaigns. How? An instant comparision of your Instagram follower growth and user activity vs your competitors and find out which hashtags are commonly used by your brand. All of this and more on Fashionbi Instagram analytics, to better engage and maximize your Instagram platform. 

Consumers can, at times, be some of the best influencers a brand has and Instagram not only allows this but can also be insightful to see what consumer's are loving, wanting and ranting about. And over at Fashionbi we know exactly what we are ranting about, the latest Fashionbi 4, that gives you all the insight into Instagram.  

See How the Fashionbi Instagram Analytics works

The first quarter of 2013 has been a slow start for Kering Group group, but on the other side of the luxury world Prada has seen astounding results. The secret to Prada’s success, and rise to the top may seem simple, but as the rest of the luxury world has seen bleak results, questions are spiraling around the king at the top, Prada.

 

Luxury Giant Kering

Hedi SlimaneThe Prada Group still remains an undiversified umbrella structure, mainly relying on Prada to generate the bulk of revenues. Kering group on the other hand is comprised of a diverse group of brands. Kering group often referred to as the luxury giant posted a sales climb in their luxury division of 4.5% in the first three months of 2013. Compared to the sales jump of 21.2% in the fourth quarter of 2012, sales are certainly off to a slow start inside of their luxury division. One stellar luxury brand that is not off to a slow start inside of the Kering group is, Saint Laurent Paris (old name, YSL). The company posted a double-digit gain for the first quarter of 2013. Now under the creative direction of Hedi Slimane, which could have added fuel to the 16.9% increase in revenues up to 127 million euro. According to the New York Times, “Mr. Slimane, has introduced a vision for Saint Laurent that has been so divisive among critics and retailers that no one can quite be sure whether, in hindsight, it will be seen as brilliant or absurd.” According to the increase in sales and revenues, looks like his vision has proved brilliant and is currently the strongest asset in the Kering group.

 

Kering redefining Sport & Lifestyle Division

Puma_Clyde_3M_stripePuma the leader of the pack for the sport and lifestyle division at Kering group, appears to be in need of a bit of training behind their futbol sneakers and jerseys. Puma suffered a decline in sales of 4.8% to 781.6 million euro in the first quarter of 2013. This decline reflected in an overall downfall in sales of 4.9% in the sportswear division at Kering. The group’s first quarter single digit gain of a mere 1% at current exchange rates is to blame on the poor performance of the sport and lifestyle division.

Kering group has already put into action a relaunch strategy for the struggling Puma, hiring a new CEO, revamping the top Management department and shifting the focus to the sector of sport performance, along with a complete revamp of their store concept. It looks like Kering knows where to invest their focus at the moment. However, it is certainly advised to keep sight on the new king at the top of luxury, Prada.

 

Underexposed

Prada_HandbagWhat drove Prada’s sales to surpass analyst’s predictions? What changed from Kering’s single digit growth to Prada Group’s monumental double-digit growth? One key driver is Prada’s active plan to be underexposed in emerging markets. The Prada Group has motioned a strategy that has been slowly examined and pursued over the years. The strategy is to gradually shift away from the wholesale channel and more towards creating a complete retail experience. Prada has managed to retain their independence. But it is not only independence that is controlled. Prada Group controls through transparency, giving managers more control, freedom and ultimately confidence in their skill set. Transparency is part of the culture, therefore naturally the integration and fluidity between departments is smooth and transitional, allowing an increase in productivity. CPP-Luxury reported from an interview with CEO, Patrizio Bertelli, and Harvard Business Review, “We don’t design for the sake of designing; our creative energy is integrated with our commercial ambitions.” A true creative-business partnership that trickles down from the top CEO Mr. Bertilli and Creative Director, Miuccia Prada, to creative products that are strategically grabbing the attention of consumers.

 

Creativity meets Commercial

miuccia-prada-and-patrizio-bertelliThe powerful duo took the Prada Group to new heights with a net profit that increased 46 percent in the 2012 financial year. According to Mario Ortelli an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, Prada’s momentum is set to continue for the next 2 to 3 years at the very least. Retail channel sales accounted for 82% of total sales and totaled 2,664 million euro a 36% increase from 2011. Globally Prada opened 78 new stores in the year 2012, aligned with their transition strategy into directly operated retail stores.

 

The Risky Path

Prada has historically been known to take risks and to place trust into unknown situations. Mr. Bertelli, stated in his interview to Harvard Business Review, “In our business you cannot get anywhere without taking a leap into the dark. Every new design is a risk.” Prada is not built around one iconic product, or specific design; the product diversity has been a continuous strength for the brand. A risky path that has been successful with creativity meets commercial and the underexposure of a logo.

The evidence has been brought to the table that the Prada Group is aligned from the top down, staying away from being overexposed, transparent on all aspects and diversifying their product portfolio to give consumers a sense of anticipation every season. While Kering Group stays afloat, realigning their core mission, relaunching and refocusing their approach, and perhaps even taking a few risks. We may just see some competition in the double-digit growth amongst conglomerates. 

From heels to clutches the fresh and innovative premium accessory maestros are booming in the retail industry today and are making giant strides in the turbulent market. So what is this secret to success for the premium accessory maestros? Uniqueness, innovation, and a product with a bit of flavor are just to name a few of the driving factors. 

#Candycool

furla-candycool_challengeFurla, a company known for their Italian tradition and a firm that maintains a complete family ownership continues to keep tradition close to heart but always maintains a contemporary rhythm. Activating initiatives towards the evolving consumers, and the younger generation, in order to refresh and enhance the brand image. Most recently Furla embarked on a project with a focus towards talent scouting that aims to develop creativity around the iconic Candy Bag, through collaborations with artists and designers from around the world. Each participating country will add a bit of local flavor before handing the result of their creation over to the next country. A true expression of a local touch meets global. The task is to reinterpret the iconic bag; sparking new ideas and creating a complete collection of Candy Bags that are unique and unpredictable. Furla’s ambitious project doesn’t stop there. A series of art videos will be produced featuring the ‘making of’ the bags and will be screened at various Furla boutiques. According to Vogue Italia, “On the basis of the Candy bags that will be created the Furla designers will develop a Limited Edition line of the top-handle bag that will be showcased at Milano Moda Donna in February 2014.” A creative challenge that is opening doors for young artists and designers globally.

As the initiatives and exposure continue to increase, the trend doesn’t seem to stop for Furla, with an uptick in turnover reported on CPP Luxury, “Furla has reported a 12% increase in its turnover in 2012, reaching a total of 212 million euros, compared to 2011.” The attention and attraction that Furla are gaining proves that this premium maestro is certainly here to stay.

 

Shoe Obsession

Pinterest_CollageThe Italian high-end shoemaker, Alberto Guardiani is known for their fine Italian craftsmanship and sophisticated style for both men and women. So who exactly is this emerging premium maestro? Alberto Guardiani, is a premium segment brand, creating luxury quality footwear and one brand of which is overflowing with creativity and youthfulness. The brand’s social media platform is astonishing and their creative ‘Shop by Editorials’ element on the website is innovation at its peak. The overall brand image, and ever increasing viral push is youthful, bright, and creative which is attracting the younger generation.

Alberto Guardiani exhibition_at_FIT_museumPerhaps, one of the most successful success stories for Alberto Guardiani was being featured at the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Museum in New York City. Shoe Obsession, the name behind the initiative, which according to PR Newswire, “Celebrates the ingenious creativity innate in a woman’s shoe that has, over time become a dominating yet essential part of the fashion system.” The Lipstick Heel, and Flutterby Shoe, both quite masterpieces of art and design themselves were selected to be exhibited with more than 150 styles of the most innovative and creative footwear styles from the last decade. The Lipstick Heel, couldn’t have been more fitting for the exhibition, a true iconic standout for the brand. The exhibition featured the black patent leather pump with an interchangeable red lipstick heel. Talk about innovation.

One thing the premium maestros all seem to have in common is their vision and marketing strategy to encourage and promote strategic collaborations. Alberto Guardiani teamed up with i-D Magazine and launched an International design contest in search of a young and thriving designer to create Alberto Guardiani’s new ‘It-shoe’. The contest received a huge following and over 700 participants yearning for the new ‘It-Design’ but only one person could be nominated, Lady San Pedro. Let’s all stay on the lookout for Lady San Pedro to hit stores soon.

 

The driving factors behind these ever growing and rising premium maestros are innovative, and exposed. Forming collaborations, opening doors to new initiatives and increasing the customer awareness is the key success to these active marketing strategies.  

Facebook never ceases to impress, not just by its virality but also by the additional analytics it keeps on offering to its page creator. So how can Fashionbi not have these new features, right?

Facebook New FeaturesNow it is possible to keep more in-depth track on the user-engagement, understand and analyze more fruitfully, the results a page fetches to its creator. And thanks to the custom time-frame that all this data will not be restrictive to just the last 7 days but can be known for any chosen time-period. 

 

Added Features

Firstly, Fashionbi has incorporated more reliable and accurate ways to calculate user-engagement, taking advantage of the “Talking about this” feature on every official post. Is works like now, the ‘reactions’ not only include just Likes, Comments or Shares but also Post by the fans on the Page, Answers on questions posted on the page, responses on an Events created within a page, Mentions of the page, Tags about a page on a photo, Check-ins at a page’s location and Recommendations about a page’s location. In short, any and every reaction possible, a fan makes involving its page somehow. 

In addition to the above, through the Facebook KPI, more drill-down on the Page Likes, Active Fans and Impact (in terms of reactions per post) country-by-country can additionally be known. Very worthy information to depict which nation is brining the most user-engagement, and hence, the strategies can be pulled, accordingly. For example, Mexico is bringing the most engagement in terms of people liking the page, involving on a brand’s post, commenting etc., and so, more posts can be made dedicated to that country, and also to the country with the least engagement; to balance out and improve the stats.

 

Page Likes (Fans) by Country

Page_Likes_by_Country

This module is divided into three columns - New fans gained by country, new fans gained by country percentage (page likes growth percent) and delta value (Δ) (versus the previous period). This data can be known for as many countries as the page fans come from, by simply, clicking on the ‘expansion’ button on the bottom left on this module.

Page Likes country-wise tells which country, the brand has the most liking, and even awareness, in. Where people like it the most and where, the least. Knowing this value helps a brand analyze where its efforts are going right, where they are being praised and where does it need to make more investments and promotions, for example.

 

Active Fans by Country

Active_Fans_by_CountryAs said above, the active fans count now, is no more based on just the Like, Comments or shares reactions but all the possible reactions a Fan is making about a page in any way – showing the active participation and promotion of the page by a fan.

This module is also divided into three major columns – the exact number of active fans country-by-country, the percentage representation of the same and delta value (Δ) (versus the previous period). The ‘expansion button’ on the bottom left of the module, shows all the countries these active fans are coming from.

Knowing from which country a brand is getting the most active user-engagement is a value very significant in knowing from where the real fans come. Knowing that fans from which country are promoting a brand through their shares, check-ins etc. and analyze as to why so. Again, considering the most and the least value about this can help a brand strategize its social-media efforts in the right way.

 

Impact by Country

Impact_by_CountryConsidering the reactions per post average, the Impact is calculated. In the new additional module, this Impact can also be known country-wise and hence, the contribution by active fans per country in making up the Facebook Impact can be known.

The Impact by country module is divided as: Reactions per post country-wise, contribution (%) per country out of the total Impact and delta value (Δ) (versus the previous period). As usual, the ‘expansion button’ on the bottom left of the module, is available to show drill-down on every country the reactions are made from.

Impact by country also helps one analyze the country-wise engagement and which country contributed the most to make a page a success on Facebook. Again, very key information in understanding where the efforts are working and where they are lagging. Right strategies at the right time in the right place can help a brand achieve amazing stats and hence optimize its efforts and presence on such a powerful social-media network.

 

Fashionbi is always updating and bettering its structure and data content. Giving the users the best of the best available in the market is what the team works for. Any updates on the social media are incorporated and thoroughly tested before they are available Live for you. Fashionbi always puts the users first and thrives to provide the most accurate, relevant and reliable data that can be useful in better planning and analyzing a brand’s strategy, which otherwise, is too complicated a task, if sit to do it manually.

At Fashionbi, we are always alert about your needs, and we listen to your requests, to deliver to you the best Digital Marketing Analytics tool. We know it is very important for companies to be able to under stand the evolution of a brand in the digital world! Now with Fashionbi, that is possible thanks to one of the latest features: “Custom time-frame”.

Timeframe FeatureSome strategies work better when compared at the needed time-frame and having the ability to add custom time-frames to the tool bar is more pratical and useful.

There are two other primary usages of this feature. First to help users to manage and monitor more successfully the recent significant changes in their analysis by going back in time and checking the distinctive results. The second benefit is to help users determine the performances which are low or high in the selected time period.

 

The Time-Frame Feature

Fashionbi has added this new custom time frame feature for an even greater level of flexibility, and it is possible to specify the exact period you wish to appear, on the chart. The "Custom Time Frame" option allows you to select the exact starting and ending dates in which you wish to see your results. The users will find this feature on the top right of the screen.

It can be chosen by selecting first the start and the last day of the preferred time range from which you want to get the results.

In Brand Awareness section, now it is possible to make a monthly comparison. Once you have selected the time period and filters described above, you are ready to review the performances of the selected category. .

Facebook TimeframeAfter that, Facebook Section is also giving a clickable access from where you can choose two days up to 3 months of comparison. Going back in time on Facebook and seeing the past performances of the brands you selected, helps you to analyze your past, see your current and implement future strategies according to that analysis on Facebook.

You can timeframe your analysis for the important modules such as page likes growth rate, page likes compound daily growth rate, page likes active fans, page likes by country, and impact by type of engagement. By analyzing the selected time period of impact by type of post, you can understand which type of posts were engaged the most in the past such as photos or videos, etc.

Twitter TimeframeLikewise Facebook, in Twitter Section you can choose two days up to 3 months comparison. If you want to go back and see how you were doing before on Twitter, look back at your past, and you can determine the significant changes for the present.  

 You can go back to your brand's page activity, see the past posts. Moreover, it allows you to timeframe the important modules such as your brand's activity, see your past official tweets, your followers, active followers, influencers, impact and your past engagement including your competitors' past or selected time perod performances. It is such a great way to synchronize your brand on Twitter!

 

For Fashionbi, this feature is very important for database integrity, because it means that the database can be restored even after these above activities are performed. This functionality can be used to revert to a previous configuration state, effectively going back to any performance changes that were made since the previous was saved. So, you’ll be better equipped to foresee market reactions and position yourself accordingly.

Today, we can not think fashion and technology separately. While fashion seemed to be going at a slower than technology a few years ago, now fashion is developing strongly and is actually making waves. Finally, it looks like brands are finally understanding the need for a presence on the Internet. In this point, there comes the importance of understanding and realizing the latest trends in online media for fashion brands.

Online Media Trends

1. Going Mobile

Christian Louboutin mobile appMobile is great. But brands shouldn't just go on creating apps just for the sake of it, though. They should be creative, and combine the emotion of storytelling with the interactivity of the web. Mobile is key to mixing the offline and online brand experiences. For example, Christian Louboutin's recent mobile app has amazing reviews. The brand is presenting their collections and designer sketches in its first iPhone app that acts as a to-go guide to the brand. It is available for free in the App store for iPhone.

The app lets consumers view shoes and handbags from the current collection, add products to an in-app wishlist, share images via Facebook, Twitter and email and locate a retailer.

İpad app DeBeers2. iPad shopping apps

IPad is inevitable for the world of fashion. It is easy to use even to people who never went online before. Because the visual side of images make people trust the branded apps. Every retail e-commerce site should include ipad apps to their site. In no doubt, this engages more traffic to the site. De Beers jewellery ipad app is also very interesting. The brand organzed its competition through an app for the iPad that serves as a wedding jewelry finder as well as a consultant on diamonds and the brand. Consumers can look at engagement rings, wedding bands and jewelry. There is also access to videos and other details about the De Beers brand, history, design and the diamonds it uses.

3. Fans and crowd sourcing

Today, fans of your brand are playing a big role in the online technology. The brands should know their fans very well, their needs and their favorite products to act accordingly. In addition, it is also helpful to work hand in hand with bloggers, YouTubers and other creators on the web. Ronit Weinberg, Vice President of Ecommerce and Online Advertising at Diane von Furstenberg claimed that brands and online fans can work together with crowdsourcing. The NikeiD app is one such example, and in this app, you can create your own shoe and give the company important info about the colors and designs that come first in preference among their customers. 

4. Potential markets understanding

There is a reason why the Middle Eastern, Chinese and Japanese are the top customers in the world. Because the economies of Europe and America are still shaky, brands are setting their eyes  and the investments on the East. The most critical challenge stands in understanding Asia and their uses of technology in order to unlock a powerful market. The Middle Eastern fashion consumer is becoming more aware of digital technologies and this can be a great chance fro brands to enter the market.

 

More importantly, some luxury brands think that using so much technology has a bad affect on their exclusivity but nobody can ignore the fact that interactive media, youtube videos, social networks have an amazing power on reflecting the business in a quicker way. Probably, the best way for luxury brands is to treat the technology as the consumers treat their own closets: Stick to your personal style, but be playful!

 

With the rise of microblogging platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram, one has to wonder why these virtual tools are currently in vogue. Today, ss people are in transition from spending most of their online time on individual websites and blogs to social networks and microblogging platforms, it’s important for people and fashion brands to take a look at the encouraging factors behind this change.

 

Fashion embracing microblogging

Microblogging sitesMicro Blogging trend exists not just only in blogging sites, but also in social networks. This fact makes fashion world to enter a glorious fast times. Firstly, it helps people enter the "Fast Fashion" on real significance. Before this trend people needed to wait at least six months to see the upcoming releases brands from fashion weeks. Then, incoming Topshop, Zara, H&M, etc have changed fashion spread rules of the game, they rapidly and strongly follow up trend. Clothes which are seen by people half a month ago in a fashion show, may already be available in the various microblogging popular sites. More importantly, there's no difference between the luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton or Chanel and fast-fashion brands in these quick and easy digital areas. You can win the consumers and readers just by speed of your blogging tactics.

Since the Micro Blog is popular, fashionable micro blogger begins to modify fashion streets for spreading popular game rules. People began to use fast, free combination, even a bit chaotic way of the Micro Blog, to show their understanding about style and wearing clothes.

 

microblogging and fashionWhy is microblogging so attractive?

1.“I’ll believe it when I see it,” is the natural interest in the human body, there is no doubt that we are all visual thinkers to some degree.

2. We feel pressure and we’re social beings. That's why, we want to fit in with others and we want to connect. Sure, there are times when we want to stand out, unplug and even rebel, but we possess a drive to connect with other people.

3. People get bored so quickly and change their minds every day. This is nothing new. It may be true that the more we have, the more we want. Today, we enjoy the luxury of having a lot of information and things at our fingertips. So microblogging is an ideal way of getting what we want immediately without getting bored.

 

Fashion microbloggingIndeed, it not only successfully helps people transfer the contradiction, make waiting process shorter and easier, and let people feel more immediate and transparent information. Actually, if you have enough watching focuses and ideas, you can easily become the fashion leader from micro blog into the real world. In no doubt, the fashion world of Micro Blog has no end but more and faster trend.

With us blabbing on the world going digital and all, about the increasing fashion-cravers in BRICS etc., its about time that we hear the news of how China market is going all mobile interms of fashion shopping.

Mobile-shopping_rises_in_ChinaAs numerous brands expand their e-commerce sectors to Asia, especially in China, and with the prices of smartphones going affordable, the number of Netizens saw an immense increase, considering the luxury products for them are just a click away and get delivered to their doorstep, without them moving even an inch to travel and such.

According to a report released this week, the number of Chinese people accessing the Internet via mobile devices increased to a record high of 420 million at the end of December 2012, and mobile shopping - a quickly expanding mobile application, saw its users reach 55.5 million.

The China Internet Network Information Center report confirmed mobile Internet users accounted for 74.5 percent of the nation's total Internet population, which stood at 564 million, amid a slower growth rate since 2010.

China Internet Network Information Center 

The report also quoted, "There is great potential in the mobile Internet as an increasingly large number of smartphoneshit the market."

It further said, "Among the wide range of services on mobile devices, mobile shopping witnessed rapid expansion in the second half of 2012, said the report. Shopping on mobile devices has become an important driver of the growth of online shoppingin China."

Qiu Lin, an Internetstock analyst at Guosen Securities in Hong Kong, said, Alibaba Group, which has a more than 70 percent share of online retail sales in China, may have 10 to 20 percent of its business coming from mobile devices.

On Nov 11, when the e-commerce giant launched an online shopping promotion through its Tmall.com and Taobao.com, sales on the two websites reached 19.1 billion yuan (3 billion dollars), with mobile devices being responsible for around 1 billion yuan (160.7 million dollars) of these, said the company.

Online sales make up a tiny proportion of all retail sales, around 4.32 percent last year, but it has become the main way to shop in some categories.

Research company Roland Berger, estimates that around 25 percent of books were sold online in China in 2011, making it the most popular online category.

Online shopping is also expected to account for around 20 percent of all electronic devices sold, 10 percent of sportswear, and 6 percent of mother and infant-care products.

An interesting factor here also is that although the fashion shoppers count increase immensly online, furniture and food, on the other hand, are purchased far less, digitally!

Well, good news, anyway, for the Fashioners, isn't it?

Evolution is the word that Gian Giacomo Ferraris, CEO of Versace tells in the new course of the brands in the group portfolio. Nowadays, the famous Medusa brand is going through some changes in the group's performance in the area of digital technology. 

Especially, the brand is focusing on the youngest line Versus. After Christopher Kane shook hands with PPR, his partnership with Versace's youngest line Versus has ended. However, Versace began to reflect on the need of strategically repositioning the Versus brand, which for about a year and a half has been reported in the maison to seize new market opportunities. 

 

VersaceThe New Brand Strategy

The key points of the new brand strategy will ride the evolution of digital technology, break the rules of the season with a consequent adaptation of production platforms and start work with young designers, fashion designers and creatives from different contexts, in order to develop capsule collections, projects co-branding and limited editions. These innovations with Versus will have a tremendous effect on the main brand Versace too. The announcement of this change of direction was also an opportunity to give a little ahead of the trends 2012 of the Versace group. The CEO of the Group, Gian Giacomo Ferraris, claimed that "It was an exceptional year, ending with a strong double-digit growth, yet more than 16 percent which was filed in 2011," he added that: "At the head of the progression there is the performance of the first line products whose experiencing performance is really important. "

 

Versace new e-commerce websiteNew E-commerce Website:

Last september in 2012, Versace has also launched its e-commerce website and made a major splash of glamour. The site is very visual, interesting and has a distinctive site desgin. Key features on Versace.com drawn from the architect's concept include a mosaic background pattern, which is also used on the shop floors, and graphic elements that are incorporated into the bricks-and-mortar stores, such as circles, squares and bold colors. It also includes a Donatella’s Hot Picks section, where visitors can view creative director Donatella Versace's fashion choices. Presumably, all of these features make the site more engaging for the consumer.

 


Share of Voice VersaceVersace's Performance via Fashionbi

In this developing phase, analyzing Versace and its top competitors' Brand Awareness KPI, the share of voice module shows that the brand is doing good but needs to invest more efforts in its digital campaigns. The share of voice data allows us to understand the ROI of a marketing campaign and is obtained by gathering the number of mentions for a brand in a given month. It is seen that its top competitor Gucci is doing a great job with a number of 1.23K (123000 people out of a million people speaking about Gucci) in the last month. Versace comes next and the analysis shows that its number is 1422.36. That's why, the brand needs to do more effort and study closely the benchmark brands. However, Versace is doing better comparing with the other big player Giorgio Armani S.p.A., who's performance is the lowest one which is 1026.

Active Fans VersaceAnother important KPI is Facebook, Versace is analyzed in terms of its 'Active Fans' module. Active fans shows the real fans for a brand on facebook who are commenting and sharing, liking the posts, who are making some engagement on the page. This number is calculated keeping in mind the number of post by a brand and number of actions by the fans. It is seen that Gucci and Armani are better in their Facebook performance. Gucci has a number of 75841 and Armani has 70032, out of the total fans they have. However, Versace's performance is 32200. So the brand needs to focus on its facebook page more and engage more real fans through innovative posts. For example, they can find more interesting and appealing posts to drive more engagement.

 

In no doubt, the efforts of developing the best online strategy for Versace will give a feedback in a positive way. It will also help Versace and Versus to be more effective in the digital platforms. It is so exciting to see this evolution and can be a very good example in the the world of fashion. With the outstanding heritage of Versace, the brand will probably make a change in the traditional rules of the industry.

The main story of retail over the last fifteen years has been the rise of ecommerce and the transfer of market share to pure online players like Amazon, Net-a-Porter, ASOS, Ebay and EtsyThe advantages of e-commerce over brick and mortar retail are well known. They have been the success key over the past 15 years. However, Net-A-Porter, Ebay, Amazon and Etsy start to test offline presences in the form of showrooms and pop-up shops.

Here are these digital companies planning to open brick-and-mortar locations:

1. Amazon:

Rumours about the online retailer opening a store in Seattle have been around all year. The online giant appears to be exploring new outlets to sell its Kindle family of devices. Amazon relies on digital content purchases which are cheap to deliver to drive its bottom line; exact figures for the Kindle are not disclosed. Getting consumers to try the Kindle in a store is a step to increase digital sales.

Etsy.com physical store2. Etsy.com with West Elm:

The e-commerce website has built a dedicated base of users who sell mostly handmade or vintage goods. Etsy.com is about to open brick and mortar stores to retain their best users. The site is piloting a collaboration with West Elm, owned by Williams-Sonoma , to sell local user goods in store.

Net-a-porter physical store3. Net-a-Porter:

Net-a-Porter had a pop-up shop in 2011, and they had brought Karl Lagerfeld collection offline. Now it is rumoured to be planning a permanent physical presence.

Why would pure online players want an offline presence?

It is not so difficult to understand the initiatives of online retail sites to move to the physical places. They are making the obvious competitive responses to their pure online competitors, who are buy and large succeeding against both the offline and online offerings of traditional retailers. More importantly, pick-ups and returns to physical stores improve the customer experience and are a point of differentiation from their online competitors, and encouraging people to do research in-store is a recognition of what was already happening and helps get people to a purchase decision. 

Retailers going offlineIn other point of view, the move into the physical world is more is driven by branding. Having a physical presence lends solidity to a brand, particularly for less tech savvy sections of the population. For example, Net-A-Porter is kind of increasing the awareness of their brands inside, they are showing the users that they are real.

Furthermore, while technology is doing amazing things for us in so many ways, we're still human beings, and the real world still exists. The more we get wrapped up in our online world, the more desire grows for better, healthier, authentic offline real-life interaction

Today, the world of fashion looks like getting more and more interested in using social games to reach more engagement. With new fashion games like Stylmee, which is a badge reward system like FourSquare, marketing specialists are seeing more and more ways to connect online gaming with real-world shopping.

A recent interesting example for the social gaming is made by Stella McCartney. A luxury handbag by Stella McCartney worth 600 pounds is the prize in an online game to design the best virtual outfit featuring the accessory, using real items on sale in Matches, a real store. Players of a game created by Fantasy Shopper will pick the winner which is an exciting new social shopping website. This way, it combines features of online games such as FarmVille and World of Warcraft with data and deeds from the real world.

Aldo Shoe ParadiseAnother one is 3-D user experience by Norma Kamali for her website Aldo‘s “Shoe Paradise” game, where players had to virtually try on shoes for a chance to win an actually three-minute shopping experience and this proves us that fashion brands are, seriously, taking up this new form of online engagement. I believe social gaming helps with promoting products and helps in getting an instant feedback from potential customers about what is likely to sell and also this brings a new way of creating online management. Because you need to create more engagement ways to stabilize or increase your brand awareness, and if we add the rewarding strategy, the consumer gets more loyal and attached to a brand. Moreover, the idea of social gaming, apparently, sounds exciting to me from a user’s perspective, especially, considering how connected it will likely be to social platforms like Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr all of which are very popular among the fashion sects. And if playing these games actually offers the opportunity to win a prize or somehow to receive “cool points” with our peers (like what FourSquare does), then I am sure consumers will be more than ready to get in on this trend.

Levi's Mall WorldIn another point of view, the websites that are offering these social games, are also helping the brands achieve their goals with these games. A good example is when the website WildTangent, which is a Washington based game network, in partnership with Levi’s, brought the Levi’s Curve ID product to a unique new world of shoppers: virtual shoppers playing the popular Facebook game, Mall World. These virtual shoppers earned in-game items by engaging in a Levi’s virtual fit experience to find their perfect, custom fitting Levi’s Curve ID jeans. Key results from the game were really amazing:

MallworldOver the 4 weeks the game ran, WildTangent helped to achieve over 25% of Levi’s corporate goal of Curve ID fittings. Visits to Levi’s store within Mall World were more than double the expectations, showing great interest in females aged between 18-24, and average interaction rate was close to 60%. Also this way, they did their own campaign via social gaming.

After all these results, I strongly believe that he fashion industry is all about branding and finding new ways of promoting. Besides your vision, your passion, your colors and style sense; your fans are interested in your brand. As we see with the examples in social gaming, some special websites and social media is important because it allows your fans to get involved to feel like participants instead of observers and helps the level of engagement with your brand. 

In my opinion, the lesson here is always to explore new avenues. You could spend all day finding niche fashion engagement activities or new platforms, so don’t get stuck in the mainstream rut. Brands can cater these games and challenges to upcoming promotions or market initiatives, as well as their most valuable brand traits or products and the type of engagement from social media addicts.

 

After being successful in many industries such as publishing, electronics and toy industry, online retail giant Amazon now decided to diversify their business in high-end clothing. They are adding a site within a site called MyHabit that uses new technology to show clothes on moving models, so that the customer will have an in-store experience.

It seems to me that they are taking this new business seriously. The online retailer is shooting 3000 fashion images a day in a photo studio using patent-pending technology and the labels they have signed up so far are Jack Spade and Trina Turk of the US, French designer Jean-Michel Cazabat and Scotch and Soda from the Netherlands and they are in talks with premium brands such as Ralph Lauren, Burberry from London, Gucci and Prada.

And it is happily losing hundreds of millions of dollars a year on free shipping and, on apparel, even free returns, to keep its shoppers coming back. But could they be successful in the clothing business?

My HabitI think Amazon is making a right move. I find the models in motion at Amazon's MyHabit a big selling point. But perhaps Amazon's best investment was sponsoring this week's Met Ball, fashion icon Anna Wintour's annual party and for sure Anna Wintour will return the favor!

In other point of view, Amazon's presence in fashion can be a huge threat for other brands, especially, department stores that are selling items at discount prices and also other online retailers. Because the company can afford to do things that some competitors cannot, like hire stylists for the website models or investigate replacing the boring shipping box with a fancier package for clothes etc.

In addition, Amazon’s costs are about the same whether it is shipping a $10 book or a $1,000 skirt. However, Amazon is playing the cards in a very smart way. Just to make sure that the discount department stores don't take any reverse action; Mr. Bezos the CEO of Amazon emphasized that “The company’s new effort is not about selling clothes at deep discounts but at prices that ensure that the designer brands are happy.” 

WalmartHowever, there's a negative example of Wal-Mart who is the king of discounted products. It has abandoned unsuccessful attempts to sell higher-end fashion and gone back to underwear, jeans and T-shirts. So, this provides a big lesson for Amazon to be careful and not to do the same mistakes as Wal-Mart before.

But while Amazon is so sure to capture some share of the high-end fashion market, I think it's likely that other online retailers will also survive. It's not the end of everything if Amazon came into business. Sure, they might have to work harder to keep customers, but if they think carefully on the new strategies, they'll become stronger because they have to innovate as a result of Amazon’s initiative.

AmazonEven though there are many disbelievers, traditional retailers can also protect themselves because they would make sure that their assortment is exclusive. Even from high-fashion designers, they can select merchandise that will only be available in a given store. I believe that many fashion customers will still stick to buying high fashions in stores. They want to touch the merchandise, make sure they like the feel of the fabric, and insure that the clothes they try will fit. And much more so, now that there’s arising a lot of news about the ‘non skin-friendly’ and ‘plastic’ fabrics/garments.

As a result, it is totally clear that Amazon will gain a good share in the market, will test some designers that will sell and those that can be a big disappointment. After all, this is a transformative time in fashion and also in the customers, we should expect to discover almost all important fashion brands from all across the world, to be online sooner or later.

 

Textiles and clothing play a major role in the development and industrialization process of countries and their integration into the world economy.

TextilesTurkish textiles are rich in history, going back to the Ottoman period in the 16th and 17th centuries. Until the end of the Ottoman Empire, its economy relied heavily on the contribution of textiles and the importance of the textile industry to the Turkish economy continues today. As we see the improvements, today's Turkish textile industry benefits from many advantages including: A richness in basic raw materials, a ranking of sixth in the world for cotton production, geographic proximity to main markets (Europe and Russia), short lead times due to geographic positioning, and etc.

These advantages have helped to make the Turkish industry a model for other countries outside Europe and the US and as a result, the Turkish textile companies are growing very fast. A very good example is “Aster Textile” which is situated in Istanbul, Turkey having a very qualified customer base such as Zara, Mango, Mark & Spencer, Esprit, Bestseller Group and so on. Undoubtedly, these are the most important fast-fashion brands in the world. This proves us the company's success to responding to changing strong fashion trends and getting the best clients in their field.

However, the situation is not the same in the world. So many things have changed in the past 60 years. For example; United Kingdom was once considered as a big textile and manufacturing magnet but today China, India, Turkey and other developing countries are proving that the situation is reverse. The first factor is; in these low middle-income countries, textiles and clothing is a key export; especially Bangladesh has the highest total dependence on textiles andclothing as a total share of merchandise exports (83.5%), followed by Pakistan (67.2%) and Sri Lanka (47%). Other factor is, they are having much lower wages than UK and the cost of labor is cheaper. After that, there are other reasons why the UK manufacturing market is in decline. In the past, large UK retailers used to tell the consumer what they should be buying. Today it is the other way around. The consumer tells the retailer what they should be selling. In my opinion, the consumer has so many options today especially through the internet and if the retailer doesn't have it, the consumer knows where to get it.

Marks&SpencerThe Iran-born businessman Lord Alliance of Manchester, at one time the founder of the world’s biggest textile companies ‘Coats Viyella, is complaining about this situation and wants the manufacturing and textiles to turn back to UK. During his interview with Financial Times, he said “I question whether the likes of Marks and Spencer can keep going as successful companies without switching over to a considerable amount of UK-based sourcing.”Unfortunately, one time textiles leader Lord Alliance will have to work harder to go back to the past days.

River IslandHowever, another fast-fashion company seems on the right track; according to the Financial Times; this year about 10 per cent of River Island’s revenues are expected to come from UK sourcing, with the amount of purchasing from domestic factories having increased by half in the past year. I believe if they could respond to the trends quicker, they could get more results in UK sourcing and UK customer would be also pleased having UK made products. They could also use the technology as another advantage to get back on track and it would be wise to get more labor content with the usage of it. As we all know, Asian countries are much slower in integrating the technology in the garments and its contents, the established player can use this opportunity in their favor. In addition, strong element in fashion always works out in the end. That would be an advantage for UK suppliers if they want to go further than the Asian ones, they could produce more fashion-oriented products and customers would be in-line with them.

But, there is another problem. We have to consider the retailers creating long and complex supply chains, which makes it difficult to control them. That's why I believe they are missing the opportunity of bringing fresh designs to the stores. However, if the domestic market in the UK could make some effort seeing the advantages of UK based manufacturing and what could make the UK customer more friendly to the domestic products, I am sure they could see some results but, unfortunately, I don't assume the situation could be fixed in the near future observing the improvements in Turkey, China and other similar countries. Moreover, it would be hard to replace the lost production. Satisfying the changing wishes of the consumer has never been easy, and it won't be so, in the future, either.

Success stories are now starting to emerge in Middle-East after a long debate. As I'm seeing so many new e-commerce sites that are figuring out how to run an online business in the area, the future of e-commerce shines brightly, especially in the Gulf area.

Last year, the situation was not really hopeful; the closure of promising websites including Joob, Nahel and Mizado, and their operations suggested recently that e-commerce business models in the Gulf were not working.

Souq.comThe largest e-commerce site in the Arab world, Souq.com, online retail market based in Dubai, is a website modeled after Ebay in the United States which was founded in 2005. The firm received funding from the South African group Naspers and Tiger Global, a New York hedge fund.Souq had a really tough time after 2005 during its intoroduction phase because of the regional problems and they were not sure which business model to apply so they had to apply Ebay model.

There were so many reasons the model didn't work:

For one thing, the most relevant reason was the transporting goods which were ordered on the Web across the Gulf countries and it was not easy because currencies and legal structures were different from place to place. On the other hand, online payment was also another big issue. Many customers preferred to pay with cash on delivery rather than entering credit card details online, because they thought it was not safe.

Ebay.comUnfortunately, nothing worked well and the site didn't receive much revenues, so the company decided to leave the E-bay model and adopted fixed prices and got back on track again. I believe this copy-cat models dont work much and you can not apply them to any region you want. You have to know the region's needs, its level of adaptibility to tech, consumer trends, which brands they prefer etc. After that, Souq.com decided to simply adapt to the region. Then, they saw a big change. According to Mr. Meshawar, chief executive of Souq, "After leaving the E-bay model, the site receives today, 8 million to 9.5 million unique visits each month and great client base of 3.5 million customers across the Gulf". Truly, this is really a great outcome for a website that was near to be closed in the past. Definitely, they understood how to play the game. The number of clients are the most important fact which influences the site's success and surprisingly they are based on young consumers.

According to Ben Flanagan, a leading journalist specialising in media and advertising, based in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, "The Arab world's most tech-savvy consumers are shunning e-commerce, with less than 20 percent of younger buyers making regular purchases online." That's why, the young people's needs are changing the whole scene.

If we think carefully why some sites had failed in this region in the past, undoubtfully, the get-rich quicks come to my mind becuase the gain was so quick but even quicker was the loss. The managing of the website is also important, the poorly managed ones could do nothing but fall. Other fact is, the e-commerce industry in this region is still young and unexperienced. There are so many challenges around delivery of product, setting up efficient distribution centers and making the right decisions about styles to keep in the inventory, so I guess finding a local partner who knows the market can not be the solution every time, for the adabtibility. No matter what, we need to test, learn how to adapt and understand the young consumers' needs before launching the website. If you have the right product, an established company, and a right backing, I bet no one can stop you to create a benchmark for the Middle-East region in this evolving e-commerce scenario.

The fashion industry is a competitive sport. Fashion companies change their marketing strategies every day to attract attention of the consumers, away from their competitors. Customer loyalty programs are important and beneficial strategies that need to be innovative to keep up with fashion’s varying seasonal changes.

Roger's Innovation/Adapter's Curve

Fashion brands use customer loyalty programs as an incentive to retain customers and, with time, build a one-to-one relationship. According to Roger’s innovation/adopters curve, consumers have diverse buying characteristics; this has a connection with the target market’s demographics and psychographics. It is of great importance for fashion companies to implement strategic customer loyalty programs targeted at a specific market.As featured in November’s issue of Instyle magazine, fashion companies have been catching up with technological advances and have decided to enter the “app world”. 

Diane Von Furstenberg LogoEbay and Trendabl have designed interactive fashion apps for Apple products. In Trendabl, fashion lovers can now check out fashion photos and read feeds from brands such as Diane Von Furstenberg (DVF). Fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg is using Trendabl to build a closer relationship with her loyal customers and communicate her expertise on trends. On the other hand, Ebay has come up with a creative and interactive app called Ebay Fashion, where the customer can snap a picture of a pattern and the new image swatch feature on the app will search for matching apparel in every category to bid on and buy. Ebay Fashion is giving loyal customers an innovative shopping experience and at the same time pleasing them by making Ebay a user-friendly website. Customer loyalty programs are also interrelated with customer service experiences. 

Everyone has experienced positive and not-so-positive situations where a fashion brand either does an impeccable job at customer approach, or seeing retail stores reach the extreme of self-sabotage by delivering a non-friendly treatment when selling. In my personal experience, Ted Baker  (known for its classic yet urban designs and mind-blowing leather jackets) delivered an outstanding customer service. During my trip to London, I visited a Ted Baker retail store and ended up liking a garment but decided not to buy it. Once back in the United States, I changed my mind and started hunting for it. I ended up talking to a Sales Associate in England because the line had not entered the American market yet. The Sales Associate who was assisting me called their Los Angeles retail store, informed them about the exact date of arrival, and told them to hold the garment for me. The store made an exception of holding it for more than their regular 24 hours policy so that I, as one of their potential loyal customers, could be satisfied. Let’s talk about a fashion brand that cares about customer satisfaction, right?

Montblanc's special PackagingLuxury markets are all about service; fashion companies prefer to be identified as classic, exclusive, and sophisticated retailers, and use this image as a tool that is reflected in their customer loyalty programs.  The luxury industry uses approaches such as special events, after-sales services, and complimentary services. An example of a company using these techniques to perfection is the German luxury company Montblanc. The well-known fashion brand offers gift-wrapping on special packaging designed by the company with a personalized gift note, engraving and embossing on leather goods and writing instruments, and watch bracelet adjustments. Montblanc not only offers extraordinary customized designs through www.montblanc.com/pablo-picasso, the company also projects security by backing up their brand promise with a professional manufacturing process. In the purchase of a Montblanc watch, customers receive a two year free warranty with free repair offered on all Montblanc retail stores, free shipments to repair centers or in the case of limited editions: the shipment and repair in Switzerland. Montblanc is an inspiration to new emerging fashion and luxury brands that want to be a part of the customer’s life.

The A&F Club PageConsumers that are capable of spending on luxury products are not the only market that fashion brands should be aiming at. Let’s not forget that the “teen” demographic is one of the most influential markets to hit. Abercrombie & Fitch has announced the launch of a customer loyalty program for its U.S. retail stores.  The now popular A&F Club Card, offers the traditional privileges that most loyalty programs have, including: discounts, member-only offers and promotions and other rewards based on repeat purchases. Plus, free shipping for online purchases topping 150 US dollars. In addition, A&F Club members have access to an interactive website designed specifically for them, where their youthful audience gets access to exclusive videos, photo galleries, digital wallpaper, music playlists, and the privilege of V.I.P. entrance to special events organized by the company. Furthermore, the website has a fun “dressing for the weather” section, where members can check out fashionable styles and helpful suggestions on wardrobe that go accordingly to the five-day forecast for the member’s city. With this approach, Abercrombie & Fitch achieves a smart connection making buying their products an emotional experience, because the company not only connects with their target market but also communicates to parents that they care about their customer’s well-being. 

It is a fact to say that loyal customers are willing to spend more money if they feel important, if they can see that the brand is concerned and they feel being taken care of . Customer loyalty programs help create an emotional bonding, thereby resulting in a long-term customer relationship. Consumers have become more careful and selective on shopping - why wouldn’t they? With such a broad selection of Fashion brands out there, to choose from. Retailers have learnt to manage these attitudes through their creative strategies. Customer loyalty programs along with creativity are now a key to revenue growth of any fashion business. 

Today, it seems like a new trend that so many magazine writers from a traditional publishing company are leaving their current position in the magazines and taking up a position at a brand or retailer. Jeremy Langmead, formerly of Esquire, is now at Mr. Porter. Andrea Linett, formerly of Lucky magazine, is now at eBay. Dennis Freedman, formerly of W, is now at Barneys. Fiona McIntosh, formerly of Grazia, is now at My Wardrobe. And the list goes on. But why are they leaving their editorial jobs and starting to work at a retailer?

Mr.PorterThe answer is because of a challenge current online retailers or brands are facing, old-fashioned advertising campaigns are no longer making revenues. In addition, while the Great Recession cut traditional advertising spending in a dramatical way, the internet has also given brands and retailers a cost-effective way to stop using publishers and engage consumers directly with their own editorial content. So, this big loss on advertisement drove brands to find their own editors to create successful contents. Here, we need to stop and think in what ways positively or negatively will the rise of content created by brands and retailers transform what we call editorial?

Surely, no retailer online is better known for combining editorial and retail than Net-a-Porter. You can read the magazine and also shop online all at once; this drives the customers to a much better shopping experience, like a playground. This new approach is less about consumers coming to these sites for the content and then deciding to shop, and more about people coming to shop and staying to explore some content, which also helps to increase sales.

But to understand better the editorial success, another question comes to my mind should we measure it by how much sales we get? I don't think so. More importantly, the amount of time we spent with just one content, the number of social media shares, comments, replies, re-tweets need to be realized as the main factors to take seriously. No one can ignore the impact of social media on your contents and getting rateful engagement on Facebook, Twitter and so on.

Alongside retailers, I also see some luxury brands creating and publishing their own editorial-style content. Joanna Shields, EMEA Vice President at Facebook, notes that British luxury brand Burberry is leading this trend. According to her, "Burberry is producing its own original content." She further adds, “Burberry is no longer just a fashion company, today they are a thriving media enterprise.”

But for brands, the challenge of creating their own content is both simpler and has its own advantages because the message being delivered is their own message, without mediation. Nevertheless, we can always see some risks in branded content, for example When Love magazine, for example, includes Louis Vuitton in a piece of fashion editorial, the result is quite different to the way a Vogue story might communicate the same brand, so if brands take a wrong step when elaborating their message in a content, it’s much harder to disown the message.Acne Paper

Emerging brands such as Acne did also a great job creating their own smart editorial content with Acne Paper. I think it is the most captivating culture magazine and the publishing arm of the Stockholm-based creative collective and fashion label Acne. But most brands prefer to partner with agencies.

Outside-inAnother interesting example; Levi's in the recent years, showed us that they are very good at transforming its advertising into something that feels closer to editorial content, creating workshops such as “OUTSIDE IN: The Story of Art in the Streets” in 2011.

The screening was held in collaboration with Levi’s Film Workshop at Soho House, with an amazing cocktail party afterwards at the Levi’s Showroom. They presented in this workshop also some custom Levi’s Trucker Jackets that were created by many of my favorite street artists!!! It is totally a successful result of creating a content-rich workshop, and promoting your products. I really love art that you can wear.

Besides talking of important Fashion brands and online retailers on the web, let me also put forward the example of Fashionbi itself. Fashionbi, a unique database, where we calculate the Business Intelligence of important Fashion and Luxury Brands, where we deal with all the heavy analytics and data about the web; besides having all these imporatant information, also has its own "editorial" section, the "Fashionbi Newspaper". Here, we present the most important news and articles based on the fashion and digital world's insights. Our readers can read daily, the news and facts from the Newspaper section whilst looking up to our key features of analytics, and KPI data etc.

So, I believe no matter if you are an online retailer, a brand or an analytical digital website, the trick is being different in creating your contents. It doesn't have to be just rich but further, it needs to have a message to capture and not dictate what happens. In other words, you need to have a certain amount of trust and let these things live and be what they should be.  

What began as an adventure is now starting to look like a huge power of control. Italian fashion retailer Yoox.com runs online stores in Europe, North America and Japan, with a global average of 5.9 million monthly unique visitors. Of course it is not easy to reach this number of visitors, but should amount of visitors be the only barometer for increasing its online sales for Yoox?

Yoox.com online retailerAs the formerly Turkish online editor, and brand manager for Vogue Turkey, Barış Cakmakçı mentioned on his personal Twitter account during last months a very interesting article about Yoox on New Yorker. The article explains the key elements how Federico Marchetti started their business first when Italy was not prepared to e-commerce and how they combine fashion and internet together with a great passion.

Federico Marchetti, the forty-three-year-old founder and C.E.O. of the Yoox Group, launched in June, 2000. When he founded Yoox.com, the online website of discounted high-end clothes and accessories, helping fashion labels navigate the Internet’s risky waters.

In 2006 Mr. Marchetti convinced Italian label Marni to create an independent online store, Marni.com. Many others soon followed. Recently Valentino, Marni and Dolce & Gabbana renewed their five-year contracts with the group.Federico Marchetti

The Yoox Group, had reached total revenues of more than 210 million dollars in 2009, and went public. 

As a result, Yoox not only increases the amount of visitors but also the revenues and the amount of brands they have in their website. Truly, this is not something very easy to achieve. Because, these labels we see on the website are the most important luxury brands in the fashion world. Especially, in the begining of the website's foundation, it must have been so hard for Marchetti to gather all these Italian brands together. First of all in that period in 2000's, traditionally Milanese fashion industry, which was initially dismissive of the Internet, it was totally afraid of trying something new, especially online. It had so many risks. As Marchetti says “They were scared that their brand was going to be presented in a way that was worse than in a physical retail store. And it was less beautiful online; there was less focus on quality, it was much slower. You cannot have a brand that has a beautiful store on Fifth Avenue or Via Montenapoleone and has a terrible online store.”

Moreover, the French luxury group PPR run by François-Henri Pinault, recently offered a partnership with Yoox to power the online stores for most of its top brands. It’s the first time that a big luxury group has admitted they could benefit from outside help online.

The last time a luxury group made such a big investment in online was in 2010, when Compagnie Financière Richemont S.A. bought Net-a-Porter in a deal with 350 million pounds.

Net-A-Porter retailer onlineBut what is it so special about Yoox that is making it so appealing and different form its competitors like Net-a-Porter and Gilt? The first thing is it has an Italian DNA unlike the British “Net-a-Porter “ and the American website “Gilt” which brings the the advantage of flexibility with complexity and aesthetic calling. Other insight is going against the current, challenging the rules and being innovative, they are continously rennovating the website collaborating with the designers and their collections only for Yoox. For example recently, Delfina Delletrez has collaborated with the site with a capsule collection.

Unlike other online retailers the content of the website is amazing, you can find style tips, horoscopes, etc. In addition, Yoox Group is also the first of the sector to enter the Chinese market. Before the luxury multinationals, before the Americans, before everyone. Two years after entering the China market, Yoox is launching a Chinese version of the company’s flagship multi-brand online store Yoox.com. The Chinese site, features capsule collections as well as end-of-season clothing and accessories from top designers worldwide and in my opinion the site is so localized that brings the customers the best shopping experience.

Most importantly, they are now integrating their website with art and design including news. This is also a first from an online retailer but I am sure it won't be the last. Yoox recently started selling contemporary design pieces by the likes of Achille Castiglioni and Philippe Starck, proving Marchetti’s affection for art and design.

Admittedly, the company knows how to combine two elements that seemed contrasting: the web and fashion. On the one hand communication with no limit, on the other exclusivity. All I can say is that the Italians know their job the best!

Tory Burch, Llc. had a remarkable rise in the fashion industry since its first launch in February 2004. Personally, I fell in love with their ballerinas when I first saw them, and later on I started to see them everywhere but the label's success is not coming just from its product of  their ballerinas.

Tory Burch Runway ShowMiki Berardelli, the CEO of the company has expanded her line of ready-to-wear clothing and accessories to more than 450 department and specialty stores worldwide, as well as dozens of Tory Burch boutiques in the U.S, Europe and Asia. Most importantly, according to Berardelli, the chief marketing officer; the brand's rise is because of the digital strategy they followed since 2009, not the stores they opened worldwide. After opening its first shop in downtown Manhattan, the company opened their own e-commerce website immediately and toryburch.com generates more revenue than any store. Burch is one of the few designers to maintain a direct relationship with her friends and fans on Twitter, which she does in an easy-going behaviour. In addition, they have other social network sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard, Tumblr, Foursquare, YouTube, and Weibo in China. They are run by a small team of two people, except Twitter, which is run by Tory herself, unlike other brands that are controlled by PR's andTory Burch Twitter Account this makes Tory brand's Twitter page more effective and special. The company’s blog, which is run by former InStyle editor Honor Brodie, is recognized in the industry as one of the leading content-maker. Berardelli believes the future of e-commerce will be shopping through Facebook and will be the new era, bringing new consequences.

If we go to the the begining of everything, not having a big budget brought them to follow a strategy of focusing on team’s creativity maintaining editorial relationships and personal appearances but then, their marketing efforts changed and they started to focus on everything digital. They redesigned their website earlier last year in 2011, and developed into the shopping experience, added some more features supporting mobile commerce. Another interesting fact is that not only they focused on social spaces, also they focused on the intersection of social, local and mobile, whether that’s for a new store opening in a specific market, or driving traffic into existing stores. When we come to other online fact e-commerce, toryburch.com is their largest store because they note the e-commerce sales are increased in a top level. Mobile sales affected their sales either becuase of the proliferation of iPad. So, just to note for new brands, e-commerce and going mobile is a must if you want to increase your brands sales in today's digital world.

Tory Burch Weibo AccountBerardelli notes that China is an amazing market for e-commerce, they opended their Weibo site in support of the opening of first store in Beijing. But, the biggest investment is analyzed in the brand's online editorial and its blog. So let's think about the reasons behind it. For sure, it is not just because they are making more revenues from that  but it's a different concept than we are used to see in general. Tory blog, is the expression of all the things that inspire and entertain Tory, whether it’s an artist or even another designer. The blog doesn’t talk much about the brand, not advertising the clothes at all, but about other things, other products. So, I belive this new concept makes the brand all unique. As a matter of fact, it's not always important making big revenues but customers who explore content, can find also something about the brand's identity and get more accustomed to it and they are becoming loyal as well. This can be a big lesson to all the brands that are not being successful in online media and learn from Tory Burch's strategy.

Today, live stream fashion shows are a “must” for a brand, not an option. As the role of live shows are changing in this digital age, brands are rethinking fashion weeks. The digital capitals of the world are organizing digital fashion weeks in the fashion capitals of the world. We see new marketing technologies like 3-D films and the usage social networks in fashion weeks and the result is increasing every single day.

Digital Fashion WeekEven the invitations for the fashion shows are now sent online. I believe, so many people are missing the old days when getting the invitation for a fashion week was a really important moment, even some people were getting them framed.

Nowadays, Fashion GPS CEO “Eddie Mullon” introduces us the company’s newest platform, Radar, an iPhone application that gives editors and buyers instant access to the collections. This application allows them to upload images to social networks like Facebook and Twitter and to request looks in real time. I hope this might stop the need for visitors to be taking iPhone and Instagram pics of the models on the runway. 

One of the examples of fashion shows going digital has proven itself in London Fashion Week using the most important social networks with real-time access, Twitter focused on London Fashion Week for the first time this season as part of a wider drive for the UK market. The British Fashion Council (BFC) worked closely with the service to promote conversation around LFW using the hashtag #LFW, and by mentioning the official @LondonFashionWk account. This way the digital push is expanding LFW to a more wider geographical reach and global markets. Not only for London but with also Milan, Paris and New York, the fashion shows had a digital concept.

Burberry's Digital fashion Week in BeijingMeanwhile, on the luxury side, Burberry introduced consumers to other innovations through its social media platforms, the brand posted Twitpics of every look from its Spring/Summer 2012 collection on Twitter. And who can forget the famous 3D hologram runway show hosted by the brand in Beijing on 13th April 2011?

Another insight take us and also the digital ways into the offline space. The British Fashion Council had reorganized its digital schedule of livestreamed shows and fashion films this season. This time  different themes, such as ready-to-wear and accessories were used to make it easier for consumers to follow the areas they’re interested in.

We see some fast fashion brands  are also using the offline spaces; for example Topshop  played video of the nine shows its hosting at a  screening room in its Oxford Circus store. These could have been also watched  online through Topshops's own website. In addition, the stores were hosting in-store workshops with figures for example such as Yvan Rodic of Style blog Facehunter and Alexander Fury of Showstudio on the world of fashion and films in the digital age.

In additon, bloggers are becoming another huge impact in fashion weeks on social medias. There are many but the most appealing one for me was when the U.S. brand Kate Spade pushed the launch of its new Sloane Street store in London with a guerrilla marketing campaign. The brand delivered flowers to influential London-based bloggers, encouraging them to wear the flowers to enrich their fashion week wardrobes and to tweet using the #popofcolor hashtag.

In my opinion, it's not easy to know what to think of all these different digital happenings at this season's fashion weeks and social medias. Until now, fashion was behind when we think to integrate new technology, so the more luxurious and exclusive the brand, they were less likely to really innovate in this area. But today, so many things changed. My point of view is that luxury is exclusive, while digital is largely about inclusivity and furthering accessibility, and this shows us opposite ends so I believe these exclusive brands should better see the technology as reaching their business goals but not a different accessory to attract more people. They should maintain their exclusivity.

Lyst and Teen Vogue__backstage google+ hangoutBy the way, not every innovative thing in using tech and fashion shows goes right. We also analyzed some examples of digital experiments that perhaps didn't work out as well, such as Lyst and Teen Vogue to host backstage Google+ hangouts. I think it was a nice idea but not enough. It seems like brands are using so much digital in order to turn heads and gain some extra columns in the blogs or news.

Another worrying aspect is that digital is looking like a trend increasing every day, and in the world of fashion we know that trends can be forgotten in  just one second as quickly as they arrived.

So, I truly agree going digital for luxury brands increase engagement with their customers and facilitate a more personalised customer service. But this can only happen if brands view the usage of technology with the same seriousness and consideration, they would apply to the same decisions they make when approaching a new collection. They need to introduce new tech fashion shows or offline spaces that will really help their customers and grow their business.

In Middle East countries, when one thinks of clothing, women's clothing first comes to mind.
 Women dress in the traditional way wearing the shayla / traditional scarf on her head and a long black robe which is a sign of their participation in a tradition and a culture. Surprisingly, also men started wearing fashionable thobes. For this reason, nowadays, I see so many fashion brands take into account this fact in order to be successful in this market with conservative clothes, particularly in their commercial communication.

Middle-East designer, Walid Atallah's designIn fact, various designers are making profits by following the strategy of creating special lines in order to get the consumers of the region and big amount of consumers claim that they are loyal to brand, so I believe this market knows what it wants, certainly. Tom Ford, a leading American fashion designer, created his first dishdasha or thobe for Sheikh Majed AlSabah, the 35-year-old nephew of Kuwait’s Amir, because of high demand he also asked Ford to have these produced for stores in the Middle East. In addition, Hermès’ Christophe Lemaire’s Fall 2011 collection also followed this trend and created a womens' line which was a very
 dishdasha inspired with long, multi-layered clothing combinations. Giorgio Armani, John Galliano, Blumarine are a few other international
 designers who are penetrating the market also. As a result, according to “Marriam Mosalli,” Editor for Arab News, the buyers who come from Arab countries need longer versions of pieces. In my opinion, at this point understanding the customer needs, can help satisfy them; even if they don’t want or need it, even if it doesn’t enrich their lives, but it deepens the retailer’s relationship with them but they are happy to make a purchase in the end.

Another brand, Gucci has established a joint venture between Al Tayer Insignia, the largest luxury retailer in the Middle East, this partnership allowed Gucci a direct entry into the United Arab Emirates, because Al Tayer already knows the market and can help Gucci achieve the goals. So, Gucci is a very smart one to use this way to get the market and also to understand better its needs.

More importantly, speaking of local fashion brands, the promotional strategies in these countries are becoming easier and we don't see too much covered clothes every time. More with the results of technological advancements, they are emphasizing on young people in their advertisement campaigns with YouTube videos or 3d Television marks. For example, Splash, Middle East’s largest fashion retailer, which is headquartered in Dubai, has recently launched a 3D campaign. In this recent campaign, Splash bundled 1 million pairs of glasses with locally distributed magazines, had its advertisements in the magazines, and in some cases, also sponsored features that contained images that could be viewed in 3D through the glasses and when you look at the clothes in the ad, they are so modernized.

Gisele Bundchen edited for H&M's 2011 campaignAlthough we see these advancements in using technology with local fashion brands and their promotion techniques, still some international brands' campaigns are censored in Middle East. For example, last year for H&M ' s 2011 summer campaign supermodel Gisele Bundchen found herself being digitally altered for her latest ad campaign in the Middle East, because she’s showing too much skin! Despite barely exposing any skin, the photos have been critized to be too risky for Middle Eastern consumers, with vest tops and t-shirts digitally added to the original images. The changes were first seen on fashion website La Moda Dubai, where readers saw the differences between the Western and Middle Eastern campaigns and commented on them.

The site stated: “Perhaps some changes were made to better align the campaign with the sensibilities of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia) market.”  So in my opinion this allows us to understand that despite the last half-century, living conditions have changed in a profound way and modernisation has transformed the traditional way of life, but there are still some peculiarities in these countries that concern the relationship with traditions, and brands  should always keep this in mind.

Dubai's glamorous retail locationsAnother fact in the promotional strategies, the usage of social media is still a tough road. Emarketer states that “company websites and retail locations are much more important touch points for luxury brand consumers than social media sources,” according to November 2011 research from customer experience management firm Empathica. That's why, these social media pages of brands like on Facebook, are less important than their own websites or their stores in renowned areas.

Shyla, the traditional scarfAdmittedly, in contrary of being successful with customized collections related to this region, international brands should do more efforts and improve more on engaging this consumer socially. For example, they could open a local Facebook or Twitter account, emphasizing on the needs of the region; they can share posts, statuses etc. to get the viewers more accustomed and driven toward their social network pages and engage them there, ask for their personal opinions, comments, suggestions; and customers to make queries there and answer them the soonest etc. Strategies like these can, certainly, make a boom, especially, amongst the young riches in this side of the world. Brands need to work harder on the promotional strategies as well. By observing the examples of local fashion brands, they can understand more what strategy to follow and not to follow. Because eventually this market is a risky business. In addition, to be successful in the advertisement campaigns, it needs to be understood that although we are living in a millenium age, these countries are still attached to religion, so it needs to be more careful with showing less skin in the campaigns and combine technology and social codes together. However, no one can deny it is an advantageous place to grow, as it continues to develop, the projects are recently increasing. It will be exciting to see what is out there waiting for us!

Due to the massive growth of shopping online, having an e-commerce website nowadays became a must-have to the Fashion Industry and more and more this trend is also striking the Luxury brands worldwide.

Using internet as a sale channel for luxury products still is a debated issue because many brands fear that, if they go online, their products will loose prestige. However, luxury brands are increasingly surrendering to sell online and invest more in e-commerce websites, which is becoming the hot issue right now in this “million-dollar-baby” Industry.

Of course, in-store shopping experience still plays a major role for this Industry, but what they cannot deny is they also need to be engaged to new online strategies in this Digital Era, in order to increase their sales, driving their consumers to purchase their products both online and at offline store. 

Customers who are willing to pay a high price on a luxury item expect to have online the same incredible shop experience and exclusive service as they would have if they go shopping at the physical store. Thus, there are some forces that luxury brands must pay attention to when they start selling their products online, such as the right way to deliver information to customers, the brand’s communication and also the ability of creating the right online shopping atmosphere. 

Image: Louis Vuitton

Firstly, the higher the added value and price for a product is, the higher the level of information expected by customers. Thus, luxury brands should craft a successful tool online to create desire by enhancing their product’s presentations and delivering information about a product as much as they can. As an example, in Louis Vuitton website, customers are informed about all product’s features such as colors, characteristics and different options for multiple product views.

Image: Burberry

Besides that, another important strategy to be kept is how the brand communicates with its customers. Burberry’s been very successful when it comes to this topic. Its e-store contains not only an online chat option and a personal shopper service called My Burberry, but also its e-shoppers can personalize an iconic trench coat to their own specifications. Customization and personalization combined with liability on online services are very important eye catchers to high-end consumers. 

Image: Versace

Finally, another successful feature is to translate online the very same offline boutique’s environment, through sensorial and aesthetics perceptions, reassuring in consumers’ mind that they are shopping for the right brand. For example, Versace e-store’s design comes along with Donatella’s glamorous creative style and it was also inspired in its new boutique’s architectural concept. The design’s fittings include strong colors, mosaic graphic background patterns, geometric elements as well as striking photographies. So far, the brand has done a great job by creating an elegant, sophisticated online atmosphere that conveys with its spirit. Another good example of recreating the brand’s mood online is Burberry that provides through videos, showcases and acoustic music a pleasant e-shopping experience.

In short, the Luxury Industry is converting their sales both to offline and online channels and with the right online strategy, positioning, high-level service and shop experience it is possible for luxury brands to sell high-end products on the web without losing their glamour. 

 

In today's fast moving digital world, it's difficult to stay on top of all of the changes, but by following the new potential markets, we can help ourselves to accomplish our goals. Turkey, as one of the world's fastest growing economies, has improved its potential growth also in digital economy with almost half of its 78 million citizens now online.

buyvogue.com, Fashion Website in TurkeyOne of the key factors of this growth is adapting quickly to new technologies. The adaptability brings more and more usage online, everyday.  Other factor is the young, growing population whose attention to social networks is tremendous. Facebook is the main social network page that is used among Turkish fans. ”Turkish Investment Agency” notes 32 million users, which makes Turkey the seventh country in the world for the year 2012.

Social networks are not the only digital areas that are developing in Turkey but another huge fact is seen in the digitalization of the Fashion & Luxury Industry. Today, we see so many blogs and forums online, about fashion. It is rather obvious that bloggers are now seriously influential also in the world. However, in Turkey, because of this rapid adaptability, everything is getting consumed in a quicker way. Every day, we see more and more bloggers promoting the luxury brands and their styles. As being a Turkish myself, I can say that it is not so simple to choose the interesting ones among them.

Turkey Fashion ShowThis new emerging bloggers are distancing themselves from the traditional concept of blogging as an impartial activity, they're realizing there is money to be made through advertising, sponsored content and even in some cases as we see in the world, they are becoming the face of a brand but unfortunately, I haven't seen yet this kind of thing among the local bloggers. So, I believe what they lack is “branding”. Not just these fashion & luxury forums blogs but also the local labels have the same problem. In general, I see great Turkish design collections but it is hard to see their own character and identity. In order to have a more compatible figure with international brands, they need to have strong brand identification. For example, they can use some Turkish traditional aspects in their collections in order to be different.

Another reality online for Turkey is “e-commerce”! According to “Cem Sertoglu”, an investor for Grupanya, one of the biggest e-commerce platforms in the country, currently, “there is a big contrast between the usage of social networks and e-commerce. The usage for the latter is very low as compared to that of the former.” However, we should note that there is estimated a big change of this situation in the future because we have already started to see some signs such as the new local e-commerce websites: Grupanya, and the ones for online designer clothing; “Markafoni”, and “Trendyol” etc.  After that, we started to see bigger changes in 2011. First, eBay acquired 93 percent of Turkey’s largest auction site, GittiGidiyor in a deal rumored to value the company at $215 million. Then South African media conglomerate Naspers acquired 70 percent of Markafoni, one of Turkey’s largest private shopping companies, in a deal valuing Markafoni at about $200 million, a value confirmed by my sources. Markafoni is also owner of Zizigo, the largest online shoe retailer in Turkey.

Markafoni, Online Designer Clothing Store of TurkeyMarkafoni has a target of middle-class consumers in Turkey, it is easy to find brands such as Eastpak, Miss Sixty, Oakley, Puma, Stefanel but also some luxury ones such as Givenchy, Roberto Cavalli, Fendi but the majority of brands are accessible brands. Speaking of accessible brands in this e-commerce category for Turkey, I believe “Trendyol” has more local brands such as Collezione, Ramsey, Twn, which are more accessible than the brands in “Markafoni”.

Beymen, Luxury Department Store of TurkeyThe set of circumstances is also changing for the luxury consumers for fashion. Once, they were prefering the upscale fashion retailers such as Beymen, Vakko and Harvey Nichols consisting of premium and luxury-accessible designer brands.  Among these, Harvey Nichols is the only international one, Beymen and Vakko are local department stores having their own private label inside. But today, İstinyepark Mall is the new trend; the new shopping mall offers famous brands like Dolce & Gabbana, Dior, Prada, Celine and Fendi to the Turkish consumer domestically for the first time. Granted, these upscale retailers and İstinyepark Mall are filling an important void in Turkey.

Luxurious Life in Gulf CountriesLikewise Turkey, Middle East is also another unquestionably fascinating and continually evolving market which includes not only the countries bordering the Persian Gulf (Oman, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq and Iran), but also by extension, for economic purposes, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon, constituting an important market for high-end goods, with a value of about € 4.1 billion (about 2% of the global luxury market). Most of the population considers shopping as an important social activity, and think that it is important to practice with friends, or sisters and mothers. Before making purchasing decisions they are inspired by friends and family. In addition, the new opening malls play a huge role in the social life of the people of the Middle East and are considered to be a club. Chanel, Dior, Gucci, Givenchy and Giorgio Armani are the well-known umbrella brands which they prefer to buy mostly. So, the trends for luxury consumption are similar with Turkey but the mentality is different. The Turkish consumer is more modern, open-minded and do not hesitate to try the new trends and search for personal style although in the Middle-East, the consumer is more attached to tradition and the women dress in a traditional way.

In conclusion, Turkey has become a great destination for global strategic investors in digital economy and luxury market but still the country needs to invest more in promoting its use of social media, e-commerce, blogs, forums and should give more importance to “branding”. Becoming a global player in this industry, will not occur without a big push. More efforts and emphasis on social platforms must be made. As a result of high consumption online, should launch a local social engagement website like Weibo in China; and, extensive work on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc. In undertaking such global and regional media initiatives, there will be no doubt in Turkey’s rise within the Middle East market and particularly in the hearts and minds of the bigger and smarter investors!

In order to fully comprehend the emergence of the digital fashion industry in the BRICS markets, its important to understand the depth of social media and digital presence per country.

Internet users worldwide chartIn the past few years, there has been a significant increase in terms of Internet usage in the Emerging Markets. Statistics show that in terms of the amount of internet users worldwide, as of June 2012, China has taken over the race, and is leading with 22.4%; followed by USA with 10.2%; India with 5.7%; and Brazil and Russia at 5th and 6th place, with 3.6% and 2.8% respectively. While South Africa, a new addition to the BRICS, also has a notable growing economy, in terms of digital presence, they have not yet developed as successfully as the other markets.

With these facts, it is safe to assume that the BRIC markets have the highest potentials in terms of digital emergence.

Social Media

Digital Emergence of BRICSIt shouldn’t be surprising that along with an increasing hunger for internet usage, comes an increasing number of social media presence. With Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube leading in social networks globally, results show that 60.6 million of Brazil’s population log on to Facebook on a daily basis, putting them on the 2nd spot, just after the USA (with 167 million), and with India on third with 60.5 million.

While Russia’s presence on Facebook does not seem as significant, this should not be misconstrued as a lack of social media interest. This is only because they have been leaning towards Vkontakte, another social network said to be more compatible with russian characters.

Likewise, China’s internet censorship has proven almost impossible for them to join networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, however by producing their own social networking platforms within the country, such as Weibo, Qzone, and Youku, China is able to garner millions of social media users daily.

Digital Applications

Digital Applications as well, has said to become a growing phenomenon within Brazil, Russia, India, and China. While the US is still the largest market for Android and iOS applications, China is starting to catch up and could possibly gain on the US as early as December 2012.

All this is possible with their increasing percentage of Internet usage, matched with economic gains. And while Brazil, Russia, and India are still a long way away from the size of the US market, with their increasing growth rate and interest in devices, they could possibly build their own Silicon Valley, and prosper in digital production in the future.

E-Commerce and Online Shopping

BRICS countries have also strengthened their online shopping industries.

Social Media emergence in BRICJust last year, BBC had reported China’s online shopping to grow four times by 2015, and is set to be the largest online industry in the world. With internet users of about 420 million,  an average of 193 million shoppers, spending an average of a billion hours daily, it is evident that their online shopping industry is thriving and growing at an alarming rate. Apart from this, with China’s ballooning middle class, their subsidized government, and their affordable internet technology, the population of online users in the next few years would continue to grow at 8-16%, therefore pushing them up to twice as much as the United States by 2015.

Equally, the online retail industry for India has also been improving, with an average growth of 30% annually. However, a bulk of this market comprises of the travel and leisure industry, and not so much veered towards retail, as compared to the Chinese market.

Brazil’s E-commerce industry as well, has experienced a large boom in the past year. In 2011 they were able to gain a revenue of more than $11 billion, a 26% increase from the previous year. Today, Brazil has the biggest market in terms of E-Commerce for the whole of Latin America, moreover, the Brazilian government has made plans for providing affordable internet to its constituents, which could lead to a higher percentage in online population and online shopping for the next years.

On a totally different scale, while Russia’s internet and mobile usage has been growing at a large rate, its E-commerce industry has not been thriving as much as the other BRIC markets have been. While there has been a transformation, and an improvement on online retailing, it is still behind, as compared to Brazil, China, and India, simply because of the lack of professional experience and human resources to cultivate online retailing.

Digital Emergence in the Fashion Industry

Louis Vuitton regionalized websiteCompanies in various industries, most especially in the Fashion industry, have, in fact, started to seriously take advantage of this means of communications. Starting off by penetrating the social media scene with their own portrayal catering to their region’s tastes and style: for instance, Louis Vuitton’s separate Facebook fan pages for Official Louis Vuitton, Louis Vuitton India, and Louis Vuitton China.

From Social Media, moving into regionalized websites, companies have also started tailoring them to fit each market in terms of: language, variety of clothing, store location and currency - as practiced by brands like Zara, Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani, etc. Even digital applications are mostly employed in English, so as to cater to a wider and more international variety of consumers.

Further BRIC Expansion

With so much improvement going on economically and socially, it would not be a surprise for the BRIC markets to take the lead in digital emergence soon.

This move towards the social and digital, along with the growth of internet and mobile usage, and a booming economy, promises E-Commerce in BRIC countries to grow significantly within the next few years.

Adding all of these together, it is hard to see what could slow down BRIC economies growths in digital platforms. The question is, which companies have the capacity to keep up with them? And when will South Africa be able to join the race in digital expansion?

The Italian premium brand Prada has unveiled it's new app for iPad, allowing visitors to take a virtual interactive tour inside Il Palazzo, where accessores from the collections will be showcased together with Haine's artwork.

App for iPadAiming to increase the engagement with the brand's customers, the Italian company launched the new app for iPad through a concept created by James Lima, a Hollywod-based visual-effects specialist, who previously collaborated with the company in the animated movies "Trembled Blossoms" and "Fallen Shadows".

Through the new app the visitors will have a digital platform where they will have access to a virtual tour in Il Palazzo, and see a series of capsule collections and limited edition products. As far from today the app exhibits Prada's men's and women's sunglasses collection, and during the next month it will host the Bloom jewlery, which consists in necklaces, bracelets and earrings with flowers in plexi frames.

Users can explore the rooms of the magnificent palace and then uncover the showcase of accessories together with the Haine's artwork.

Prada was established in 1913 and today it has about 217 stores worldwide, from those 104 are located in East Asia. It also has an online store which ships to 21 countries in the world, according to Fashionbi Insights.

 

 

E-shopping, an upgraded version of E-retailing where the products are not just sold online but also the user experience is kept in mind while he/she shops online for their favorite Fashion products.

Virtual E-Shopping CartAs quotes Ms. Stephanie Kovner-Bryant, one of the leading consultants in Digital marketing and Promotions, in one of her articles, Shopping Experiences Have Distinct Digital Needs“Many retailers are investing in apps to help with the pre-shopping and in-store experience.” She further adds, “Like most brands, retailers are looking for ways to connect with consumers in meaningful ways to keep their customers loyal.”

Of course at the end, an efficient e-shopping makes for great returns on the e-commerce. And how to know if your e-shopping/ e-commerce strategy is doing well? How to know if it exceeded expectations? There are many ways to predict this value. For example, studying how many people actually know of a brand’s e-commerce strategy, what the web audience says about a brand’s selling platform, to see the words around a brand, is e-shopping being talked about at all? Where and by how many? What is the sentiment value attached to it etc.

Fashionbi's Number of Mentions graphThe medium for the above analytics is none other than Fashionbi. Here every answer to the above and much more is brought forward. How many people are talking about a certain brand, in what context, what are the sentiments they attach to the brand, are they praising a lot its e-commerce platform, are they rather happier to go feel the store Fashionbi's Sentiment Score physically etc.? Which also reminds me of a news that Chanel brand made in the last weeks on how it does not plan to launch its e-commerce any soon (except for of course its beauty and fragrance selling online already). A brand’s different approach toward keeping its consumers curious and well in ‘touch’ with the brand’s apparel and such.

Burberry's 3D Fashion show in Beijing, April 2011On the contrary, a very recent and applaudable example of one of the top Fashion brands making the most effective use of their e-platforms is, Burberry and its e-strategies in China market. To begin with, Burberry already has official accounts on five different top social media platforms in China (Sina Weibo, Youku, Kaixin, Douban, and Jiepang, which are easily the equivalents of Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, SNS/BBS, and Foursquare). Besides the obvious consistent design and coherent info on these platforms, all sites are cross-referenced enabling greater brand exposure and deeper brand knowledge, a key concern in the Chinese luxury market where brands struggle to go beyond their generic "western luxury" identity. In April 2011, Burberry then surprised netizens with an innovative 3D holograms runway show in Beijing that was streamed live on its official pages, generating an immense amount of buzz and praise.

Fashionbi's Sentiment Score chart (In competitive arena, specific markets)For those who are taking this road in an innovative way are bound to be curious enough to see it going the right way. To see the results their e-selling strategy is fetching. Through Fashionbi, it is now possible to see everything that concludes how well (or not) is the strategy doing. The most efficient and relevant way to know of the results in particular geographic areas, in a particular market segment, within a direct competitive arena or as compared to the top benchmark players in the same market.

It is the need of an hour for the brands to start paying much more attention on this aspect. Just having a platform there is not enough; there always is a scope to better the online shopping experience for the fashion consumers. And what a better way to conclude this article by yet another interesting insight by Ms. Stephanie Kovner-Bryant “As digital continues to evolve, we may see that not all shopping technology is right for all kinds of retailers. We need to be careful of headlines that talk about “revolutionizing shopping,” when they are only going to revolutionize one type of retailer.”

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